Review: The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort



By Dave Shute

THE CABINS AT FORT WILDERNESS

Beach at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are distinctive among the Disney World moderate resorts for several reasons.

Positive distinctive features include that they are

  • The only moderate option that sleeps six
  • The only moderate with multiple living spaces, including a separate bedroom
  • The only moderate with a full–and fully equipped–kitchen
  • The only moderates located within America’s best campground–Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • The only moderate option with a deck and barbecue grill

But there’s also negative distinctive features here:

  • They have the lowest kid appeal, and lowest convenience, of any of the moderates
  • Of the sleeping spots for 6, none is longer than 73″
  • The living room space becomes mighty cramped when its fold-down Murphy Bed is down
  • There’s only one bath for the 6 people held, and the hot water heater has scant capacity
  • They are typically around 50% more expensive than the 4-5 person traditional moderates
  • They are about $40 to $100 more expensive per night than some 6 person alternatives like The Family Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and The Family Suites at All-Star Music

Because of these negatives, based on our March 2013 re-visit, the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort remain the fifth best of the moderates for first time family visitors.

(For a review of the Campsites at Fort Wilderness, see this; for what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort. However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)

That said, the moderates do represent almost 30% of the room capacity of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some you regardless of this site’s advice, or because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out.

And after a wave of renovations in the moderates that resulted in new room types, queen beds in three of the five moderates, and other changes, I began in 2012 a new cycle of stays, for refreshed reviews.

This included nine multi-night visits to the moderates in later 2012 and early 2013, for a total of 25 nights at the moderates in less than a year.

The renovations–especially those at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter–have not changed the overall rankings of the moderate resorts, but they have tightened up the distance between the first four considerably!

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, however, remain in a distant last place among the moderates.

REVIEW: THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are the least good moderate resort for first time family visitors.

(Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is first, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort second, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is a close third, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is a very close fourth, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are a distant last.)

FLOOR PLAN OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

As you can see from the image above, the Cabins are long narrow buildings that share no common walls or floors/ceilings with any other family’s space.

Parking is in front, and you’ll find a barbecue grill near it, and then steps up to a large deck with a picnic table.

Disney's The Cabins at Fort Wilderness - Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net
From the deck (dark brown in the floor plan), there’s two entrances into the cabins.

The one closer to the steps is the main entry–it’s the one with the key lock.

In enters into a small but fully outfitted kitchen, with a refrigerator/freezer, sink, dishwasher, stove/oven combo, microwave, coffee pot and toaster.  All the basic kitchen supplies–from tongs to steak knives to coffee cups to frying pans–are here as well.

TV Side Living Room at the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortThe rest of this space is a dining area that seats six, and a living area with a couch, footstool that serves as a bench for kids, and a tiny table and two tiny chairs just right for some young-uns.

There’s a Murphy Bed on the short wall in the living room area, which when down sleeps two in a bed that’s just a little smaller–specifically shorter–than a full bed. I measured it a coupla times, and never could get it much beyond 53 inches wide by 72 inches long.  (A full bed is 54×75.)

When down, the Murphy bed pretty much occupies the living space, and, as you can tell from the dashed line that indicates where it goes when down, the couch-side person has to shimmy sideways to get out of the bed on that side.

The Murphy Bed has a deep cushion and also a sprung lower suspension, and is quite comfortable for those short enough to fit it.

In the other direction, a short hall leads to a bath–small but adequate, except it barely generates enough hot water for two people.  (Each cabin has its own hot water heater.)  We didn’t measure the recycle time for how long the next load of hot water takes…but a cabin that sleeps six should have more hot water than enough for one and a half people…

Back Bedroom at the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortAt the end of this hall you’ll find the bedroom.

The second door from the porch opens into this room, with a dead-bolted, rather than keyed, door.  This was handy to leave open while grilling or using the deck’s picnic table, but a bit of a security concern otherwise.

In this room you’ll find a bed that, like the Murphy Bed, is almost but not quite a full bed, measuring about an inch short, and two bunk beds. The bunk bed mattresses are 66 inches long by 39 inches wide, and sleep a little shorter than that as they are enclosed by rails.

You’ll also find in this space the only closet–small, and about half what’s needed for six people.

More on all this shortly, when I’ll publish a photo tour of the Cabins.

KID APPEAL OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

Main Pool Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortThe theming of this resort, while charming, is so subtle that it will miss most kids entirely.

Yes, it’s at a great campground, and yes, the Cabins are charmingly rustic.

The main pool (see above) was renovated a couple of years ago, and theming and a slide were added. It’s much better than it was, but still not great.

Light Detail at the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortYou’ll find charming details in the room, such as this light above a bunk bed…

Bambi and Thumber at the Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort…and this wall art of Bambi and Thumper (and my camera flash) in the back hall.

But overall, the theming is not nearly so strong as that at the other moderates, and as a result, the comparative kid appeal is slight.

CONVENIENCE OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are remarkably inconvenient even compared to the other moderates, which can be a pain to get around.

While often thought of as out of the way, the resort is actually located just across Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. Its inconvenience comes not from its location but rather from the internal bus system that the sprawling Fort Wilderness Resort uses.

To get to any theme park, two transportation actions are required—an internal bus to the appropriate transfer point, and then an external bus to the park itself. This can easily add half an hour or more to daily transportation times—adding up to a lost afternoon or so over the course of an eight-night visit.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.)

Map of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

See the map of Fort Wilderness (click it to enlarge). The Cabins are in the lower center, loops 2100 through 2800.

At Fort Wilderness, there’s three areas worth trying to get close to:

  • The Settlement, at the top of the map, where you’ll find a store, the restaurants, the beach, the boat to the Magic Kingdom, and some of the buses that go to other destinations off the campground
  • The Meadows area, in the right center, where you’ll find another store, the main pool, the outdoor sing-along and movie area, bike barn, etc., and
  • The Outpost, at the bottom of the map, where you’ll find the rest of the theme park buses and the concierge services.

None of the Cabin loops are anywhere near the Settlement.  Loops 2100 and 2200 are closest to the Meadows. Loop 2800 is closest to the Outpost.  The other loops aren’t particularly close to anything other than the quiet pool in the middle of this area, near Loops 2500, 2600, and 2700.

For most families, 2100, and then 2200, are the best choices, for their relative closeness to the pools, sing-alongs, and shop of the Meadows.

Room Request Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness ResortDisney now lets you select loop preferences when you do on-line check-in.  See the image for the options you” be presented with.

Don’t click “near the pool” unless you mean “near the quiet pool.”

BEST FOR:

Six person families seeking a full kitchen at lower prices than at the DVC resorts.

WORST FOR:

Families with mobility issues; families with several taller members; families seeking a convenient resort; families seeking a particularly kid-appealing resort.

A PHOTO TOUR OF THE CABINS AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT

This review continues here.

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10 comments

1 Hi Dave! Great website. We are a big camping family and { 12.13.13 at 8:36 am }

Hi Dave! Great website. We are a big camping family and are planning a trip next year for Fort Wilderness. Where can I find the pricing on the cabins? Thanks!

2 Dave { 12.13.13 at 8:59 am }

Hi you can find pricing here: http://www.mousesavers.com/2014-ft-wilderness-cabins-rates-season-dates/ Note that these are not campsites!

3 Whitney { 05.06.14 at 6:57 pm }

How do you know which bus stops go straight to the parks and which ones go around and pick everyone up? (or are there 2 separate buses, do you know?)

4 Dave { 05.07.14 at 12:28 pm }

Two separate buses. One bus takes you from near your cabin to one of two stops where the park buses are.

5 Anthony { 06.02.14 at 5:30 pm }

Dave,

First I love your site. Thanks for the hard work. My spouse and I were thinking of staying in a cabin the week of 5/2/2015. We are childless, it would just be the two of us. We’ve been to Disney many times before and stayed at Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary.

Do you think the cabins would be a nice place for someone like us? We’re looking for something unique, quiet, and romantic. We would have our own car as we’re driving down.

Thanks!

6 Dave { 06.03.14 at 6:58 am }

Hi Anthony and thanks!!

That’s an interesting idea. As I think about the cabins for couples, what I run into is the small and cramped full bed in the back bedroom (with one side hard against the wall) or having to flip down the murphy bed in the living room–which kinda blows up that whole space, and means you aren’t getting value out of the back room. So I’m not quite seeing it.

The family suites at art of animation are both less expensive and more suited to a couple. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/10/review-the-family-suites-at-disneys-art-of-animation-resort/ But the environment is more garish anfd you don’t have the isolation.

If you could pay a lot more many other options open up…e.g. see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/08/16/review-the-treehouses-at-disneys-saratoga-springs-resort-and-spa/

7 Anne { 06.07.14 at 6:44 pm }

How large is the kitchen/living room floor space when the Murphy bed is down? We have a 2 year old still sleeping in a crib. We’d prefer to rent a portable full size crib rather than use a pack and play but don’t know if there will be enough space.

8 Dave { 06.08.14 at 8:22 am }

Anne, I can’t find my measurements, but there’s for sure room in front of the kitchen sink!
Disney's The Cabins at Fort Wilderness - Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.net

9 joe { 07.26.14 at 8:59 pm }

I have read some reviews that some of the cabins are not as nice/clean as others both on the inside and directly outside the cabin. Is there a loop that you suggest that is nice landscape/scenic wise (no water flooding) and is overall a nicer option. We will be renting a golf cart to get around so location distance is not a concern. One friend said there are approx 4 cabins close to the beach among the RV/tent site, would this be a preferred option? Thanks!

10 Dave { 07.27.14 at 9:05 am }

Joe, if you have a cart, no there isn’t a loop that’s consistently better/cleaner/drier/lovelier than the others on any measure. There are two cabins by the boat dock–in loop 100 or 200, I forget exactly which–but these aren’t rented to the general public.

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